ROCKPORT — Rockport school officials, parents and students are welcoming officials with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges this week, as the visiting educators and administrators tour and consider whether town schools measure up to seven accreditation standards.
The 16-member accreditation team consists of a variety of past and present teachers and administrators, all of whom arrived for a reception on Sunday. Beginning Sunday and running through Wednesday, they are speaking with parents and teachers, following students through their schedules and using other means to assess the school district’s work.
NEASC committee members reached out to parents Sunday by asking them what the lines of communication are between parents, students and the school, what they believe a student’s grade reflects and what areas parents cite as concerns.
On Sept. 27, Phillip Conrad, principal of Rockport Middle School and Rockport High School made sure the lines of communication remain open. He sent out an email inviting parents to attend a meeting with the accreditation committee that was held Sunday, as well, prior to the NEASC reception.
Those seven standards to measure include the core values of the district, the curriculum, instructional methods, assessments of student learning, the school culture and leadership, the level of school resources and the community’s resources to support one of the smallest districts in the state.
During Sunday’s reception, local Parent Teacher Organization members treated the accreditation team with songs from the combined Rockport Middle and Rockport High School choruses, in addition to food and refreshments.
Both the chorus and NEASC members were met with applause during the introductions Sunday.
Conrad said the NEASC visit, which began Sunday and ends Wednesday, provides a good “self-reflection” time for the school.
“The staff and students have been working really hard to prepare for (the NEASC visit),” he said.
Conrad said he was pleased to hear that the chairman of the NEASC accreditation team, Paul Daigle, had experience with combined middle/high schools in the past.
Daigle was previously the principal for Nipmuc Regional High School, served as the principal of Hopedale Junior Senior High School and Sutton High School, in addition to being the superintendent of the Mendon-Upton Regional School District — all in Massachusetts.
“You’re doing all the kinds of right things in Rockport,” he said at the reception.
Daigle said the welcoming in Rockport has been a warm one and added that the district’s self-evaluation process has been helpful; the district provided the accreditation team with data from the past two years.
Another aspect of the visit is to “validate what (the district) has done,” Daigle said.
According to the NEASC website, the accrediting association was founded in 1885. It serves and advises more than 2,000 public and independent schools throughout New England and more than 67 international schools from the prekindergarten to doctoral levels.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.